“Grandmothers of America” captures the beauty and wisdom of aging

Photographers Joey Schultz and John Mark Hanson took four trips across 50 states to capture portraits of grandmothers and ask them a simple, insightful question: “What advice would you give your younger self?”

The new photo book “Grandmothers of America” is highlighting the beauty of an aging population and the advice they’d give to their younger selves.

The concept is the brainchild of photographer Joey Schultz, who asked the question, “What would be the most powerful photograph that you could take?” The answer was a portrait of his own grandmother, which kicked off a 50-state tour of approaching random grandmothers and asking to take their photos. 

Schultz also asked the photo subjects a simple question: “What advice would you give your younger self?”

Dottie Johnson is one of dozens of grandmas photographed for “Grandmothers of America.”

The answers ranged from “love yourself” to “don’t do drugs,” spend more time with your family and pay more attention to the needs of your kids.

Schultz completed the project across four trips with fellow photographer John Mark Hanson. The book was released earlier this month.

Listen: Photographers Joey Schultz and John Mark Hanson talk about their new book “Grandmothers of America.”


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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper

    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.